Fox News host Shepard Smith briefly discussed the sexual harassment scandal that led to Roger Ailes’ ouster from the network in an 13-minute long eulogy for the network’s former CEO on Thursday afternoon. Ailes died Thursday at age 77.
Ailes had resigned in July 2016 amid a storm of allegations of sexual harassment from several women at the network, including fired host Gretchen Carlson, who sued Ailes. Ailes received a $40 million “exit package” from Fox News.
The allegations of sexual harassment against the late Fox News boss were rarely ever acknowledged on the network. But on Thursday, Smith addressed them, even as he got emotional recalling his last conversation with Ailes over the phone at the July Republican National Convention in Cleveland:
Last year we began to learn of another side of Roger Ailes, another part of his life. I didn’t believe it could be true at first. This man I so admired, despite our differences. It all came to a head as hundreds of us were in Cleveland for the Republican convention. The accusations were mortifying. All cameras were trained on us, all of them. We were the news. Tears flowed daily off camera, so far from headquarters, confused and helpless, unnerved and under attack. Roger would want us to perform, to serve our audience, and we did, somehow. In our private work space there, by then surrounded by guards keeping prying reporters away from us, a cell phone was being passed around. Roger was on the line. I took it in my hand and said, ‘Roger?’ ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ His voice was firm and reassuring. ‘I’m okay, Roger. We’re all working hard.’ There was a private exchange then, and he told me, ‘Keep up the good work. Keep everybody motivated and on point. We’ll get through this. I love you.’ That was the last we spoke. He left the company and the rest is history unfolding. To the true victims, respect and comfort. It’s all so complicated. Everything here was and is, as he was.
Watch below via Fox News: